MadSci Network: Science History

Re: how are science and tecnology different?

Date: Mon Sep 10 11:12:52 2007
Posted By: Mitchell Maltenfort, Staff, Neurosurgery, Thomas Jefferson University
Area of science: Science History
ID: 1189373233.Sh

Science is the systematic investigation of how natural phenomena (such as life, weather or stars) happen.

Technology is the application of principles learned from natural phenomena to make new devices.

They can each occur without the other. Just because a scientist discovers something, it's not automatic that someone will make a new device based on the new discovery. Also, technology can be developed by trial-and error, or by imitation, without a systematic approach or pre-existing knowledge. One example of technology developed by imitation is paper -- no one had to know physics, chemistry or biology to watch paper wasps make nests and try to copy what they did.

In general, though, science and technology both benefit from each other. As physical or biological principles are learned by scientists, it becomes possible to imagine ways to apply those principles. Also, new devices can be used by scientists to gather facts and observations. Computers, for example, are an awfully useful tool for gathering information -- just look at us!

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